It’s Time For “The Talk”
It’s time for that talk with your teens. The talk is often dreaded by teens and parents alike. No, it’s not the talk you may be thinking about. I’m referring to the talk about drinking and driving. It truly is a talk parents need to have with their teens. There often seems to be temptation with teens when they are out at a friend’s house or a party with regards to alcohol, but with an open conversation with our teens, things can become a lot safer when they make decisions regarding their ability to drive afterwards.
As parents we should consider the facts that both driving and alcohol consumption are both new to the teens. Part of the talk is giving the teens information they can use to make solid decisions. Although as parents we may not condone this type of action, we know that as an impressionable teen, they may feel the peer pressure and have one drink. To them, they may be thinking “what’s one drink really going to do to us?” Lots.
Ensure they understand you are there for support. Talk about how as a new driver they have driver’s license restrictions of zero alcohol in order to drive safely and legally. It should not sound like a threat to them, but more like a reminder. They often see their ability to drive alone as freedom. Reminding them that their freedom can be taken away from them quickly may stick with them. Avoid giving them scare tactics which may cause them to rebel against your advice.
Talk to your teen about planning ahead. If you talk to your teen ahead of time, offer to drop them off at their friend’s house and offer to pick them up afterwards. This demonstrates responsibility by both you and them. It’s not necessarily giving them permission to drink, it shows them that if they do, they won’t be driving afterwards. Afterall, it’s really about hanging out with their friends that they really want.
Discuss with them how alcohol can harm the way the body and brain develop. Discuss that if they choose to drink, they should do so under proper guidance. They should never have more than 1 or 2 drinks at a time, and never more than 1 or 2 times per week. Talk with your teen how alcohol affects their decision-making, reaction time and physical co-ordination. Even one drink can have a serious effect with them, especially while driving. Remember, they are new to the effects of alcohol on their body and new with their ability to make all of their own driving decisions. We need to provide all we can to help keep them safe since we can’t be with them all the time.
Another thing we can provide are personal re-useable hand-held & single-use breathalyzers from Not Your Child Corp. They are easy to use and can be used anytime by your teen. It shows responsibility if they have them with them. Although your teen may not intend to consume alcohol while they are out with friends, the temptation can be very real. The single-use breathalyzers and personal reusable handheld breathalyzers are handy for them to use and really should be a normal part of their life when out socializing. Having “the talk” ahead of time is a proactive way to safely deal with this part of their life. And Not Your Child Corp wants to help.
Scott Marshall has spent over 30 years promoting road safety in many jurisdictions. He has been a road safety journalist since 2005. Scott was also an on-air judge on the Discovery Network’s Canada’s Worst Driver during their first 3 seasons on the air. Not YourChildCorp. is proud to have Scott @Safedriver as a frequent contributor, his insights are irreplaceable.